Arte Texas recreates iconic East Austin mural with help from neighborhood youth

AUSTIN, TX—June 5, 2018—The City of Austin’s Art in Public Places Program, part of the Cultural Arts Division of the Economic Development Department, announces the restoration of For La Raza, an iconic East Austin mural celebrating the Chicano heritage of the Holly Shores neighborhood. Originally created in 1992 by community muralists Robert Herrera and Oscar Cortez, the mural was recently restored as part of the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department’s Holly Shores Master Plan, Phase 1 implementation. The project will be celebrated at a free, public event on July 21, 2018, 11 AM – 1 PM at 2215 Riverview Street, Austin, Texas. All are welcome.

“The restoration of this beloved artwork simultaneously honors the history of the Holly Shores neighborhood while also looking towards its future,” said Sue Lambe, Manager of the Art in Public Places Program. “Representing multiple generations and artistic styles, the new mural celebrates the distinguished heritage of the community and reflects its values and character.”

First painted by Herrera and Cortez in 1992, For La Raza is one of several murals sited on the exterior wall of the decommissioned Holly Street Power Plant near the Holly Shores and Festival Beach area in east Austin. Over the years, the mural fell into disrepair, with much of its vibrant imagery—including Aztec gods and symbols of Mexican history and identity— having faded or been painted over or “tagged” by other artists. As part of the Phase 1 implementation of the Holly Shores Master Plan, the Parks and Recreation Department worked with Art in Public Places and the community to identify historic murals at the Power Plant in need of restoration. For La Raza was selected as the first mural to be addressed.

Arte Texas —a community organization working to save historic murals in east Austin and execute new ones, which includes Herrera and Cortez — was commissioned to develop a restoration plan that would once again make the mural a point of pride for the neighborhood. As part of that process, the artists introduced a new generation to the mural painting tradition. In addition to meeting with neighborhood groups and associations, Arte Texas worked with students from the eastside community. Under Herrera’s leadership, the youth were instructed on the process of mural painting and its history and significance in the Mexican-American tradition. They were also given an opportunity to paint sections of the wall, resulting in a unique artistic collaboration blending generations from across the community.

“This mural represents the strength of our people and serves as a cherished cultural expression of our survival as Mexican Americans and Chicanos,” said Bertha Delgado, Founder and Executive Director of Arte Texas.

City of Austin Cultural Arts Division

The Cultural Arts Division of the Economic Development Department provides leadership and management for the City’s cultural arts programs and for the development of arts and cultural industries. The Cultural Arts Division is responsible for the Cultural Arts Funding Programs, Art in Public Places Program, community-based arts development, and programs to assist the development of film and creative industries in Austin.

Founded in 1985, the Art in Public Places (AIPP) program acquires and maintains works of art for City facilities and parks through commissions, donations, and loans for the cultural enrichment of Austin’s community.  By City ordinance, AIPP allocates 2% of eligible capital improvement project funding to the acquisition of site-specific public artwork. 2015 marks the 30th Anniversary of the AIPP program in Austin, the first municipality in Texas to make a commitment to include works of art in construction projects. For more information, visit

Since 1928, the Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) has been the trusted steward of the City of Austin’s public lands. PARD protects and maintains parkland and Austin’s urban forest, preserves trails and offers a variety of sports, recreation, educational enrichment, arts programs, cultural opportunities, nature and aquatic activities. PARD is as diverse as the community it serves. PARD strives to honor the past while embracing the challenges of the future, and to serve an entire community while maintaining meaningful connections with individual participants.

Before and after images of For La Raza (1992, Robert Herrera and Oscar Cortez/ 2018, Arte Texas)

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